LOS ANGELES — Amandine Henry was ruled out of the World Cup for France in the World Cup shortly before the tournament because she suffered a left calf injury, and the injury devastated her. But now she is ready to embrace a new challenge, one with a different team, Angel City.
“I was sad because playing in the World Cup it’s amazing, Henry said. “Now I’m not too sad because I’m here with my club, my new teammates, and I have a new challenge.”
Angel City officially signed Henry on June 1, and after nearly two months of waiting, she joined the team in Los Angeles. She arrived on July 21 and officially began training with the team on Tuesday (July 25).
As for the calf injury that kept Henry out of the World Cup, it should not be a problem, according to her.
“My calf is very good now. I can play. And I can’t wait to play my first game,” Henry said.
Angel City head coach Becki Tweed seemed less confident about her playing chances immediately, but did not rule out the possibility of her being available on Saturday against the Portland Thorns in the NWSL Challenge Cup. She wants to ensure Henry is healthy for the NWSL season, where Angel City is currently four points off a playoff position.
“We have to be really mindful of the mental and the physical piece,” Tweed said. “[Henry] just got off a plane from across the world. And I think, being mindful of when she’s ready, she’ll be ready and making sure that she gets everything she needs before she steps on the field. So we’ll see how she progresses through the week, but the week isn’t crazy long. And we obviously want to be smart and make sure that she’s ready to go for the league season.”
Henry last played in the NWSL during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, winning the NWSL Championship and NWSL Shield. However, most of the rest of her career was spent with Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) in the Division 1 Féminine.
In France, Henry’s teams won the Division 1 Féminine 14 times, the Coupe de France nine times, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League seven times. Now, she will bring her winning experience to Angel City.
“When I was in the U.S.A., we won in Portland. And now I want to win with Angel City,” Henry said. “And in France, we own a lot of trophies, and I hope we can win. I want to share my experience, and I want to learn more here.”
As Henry begins her new journey with Angel City, she will still be supporting France in the World Cup. France is currently tied for second in Group F after drawing with Jamaica in their opening matchup. Even though France’s game against Jamaica was at 3 a.m. in Los Angeles, she stayed awake to watch her team. And next, they play the group leaders, Brazil.
“I watch my country, my French national team, and I hope they win against Brazil… It was three a.m. It was very early, but it’s my country, and I support them,” Henry said.
Henry can discuss France’s matches with her new teammate Clarisse Le Bihan, as Le Bihan was born and raised in France. Le Bihan came to the United States in 2022 after, too, playing in Division 1.
“Yes, it’s good for me [to have another French teammate]… We can speak French together,” she said.
Henry has enjoyed meeting the rest of her teammates, too, and they call her ‘Mandy,’ a shortened version of Amandine.
“I tried to speak English and [my teammates] tried to speak French for me.. And the city is very nice. The weather is very hot. Everything is perfect… In Portland, [my nickname] was Mandy, [so] you can use it.”
Henry is primarily a defensive midfielder (or No. 6), the same position as Julie Ertz, Lily Nabet, Madison Hammond, and occasionally Dani Weather. Ertz is currently with the United States in the World Cup, but she and Henry could be on the field together when she returns.
Angel City has utilized a double-pivot in multiple games this season. And Ertz and Henry could fill that role when they are both available. But Tweed said competition will guide who starts, even for the veterans.
Angel City has seven games left in the NWSL season and two Challenge Cup group-stage games, too. And many of those Henry plays in will be primarily determined by her calves health and performance.